Ministry reassures public that rabies situation ‘under control’ – as two more die from disease

national March 16, 2018 01:00

By The Nation

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TWO MORE people have died from rabies in Tak and Prachuap Khiri Khan, raising the human death toll from the outbreak so far this year to six, although the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry insisted the situation was not serious.

A 61-year-old unnamed person, suspected to have been infected with rabies, died yesterday after having been hospitalised the day before at Hua Hin Hospital in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, while a seven-year-old Myanmar boy, who showed clear symptoms of rabies, also died at Phop Phra Hospital in Tak province.

Last week, two people died from rabies in Nakhon Ratchasima and Trang provinces. Earlier this year two other people died, one in Surin in January and the other in Songkhla in February.

In 2017, 11 deaths were caused by rabies while 14 died in 2016. Concerns have been raised that in only the first 74 days of the year, there have already been six deaths.

Head of the Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Public Health Office, Dr Surin Seubseung, revealed that the patient who had died in Hua Hin Hospital showed clear symptoms of rabies. He was found to have been bitten by his cat two months ago but he had not vaccinated himself for rabies.

Surin pointed out that despite the clear symptoms and the history of contact with an animal suspected of carrying the virus, the doctor had to send the samples of his saliva, cerebrospinal fluid and urine for examination to confirm the rabies infection.

Meanwhile, Phop Phra Hospital director Dr Sakbancha Somchaimongkol stated that the seven-year-old Myanmar boy was brought from across the border by his family for treatment but he died a day later.

Sakbancha stated that the patient had already developed severe symptoms of rabies and showed aggressiveness by trying to attack others and was also afraid of water.

He said all family members of the deceased as well as medical staff who had got close to this patient, had already been given rabies vaccine. He said the family was allowed to take his body back to Myanmar for the funeral.

The Livestock Development Department’s real-time rabies monitoring system reported that since January 1 until yesterday, there had been 400 confirmed rabies cases in 38 provinces nationwide.

Most of the cases were in the northeastern and southern regions, while there were six cases in Bangkok’s four districts: Bang Khen (2), Bang Sue (2), Don Muang (1), and Chatuchak (1).

However, Agriculture and Cooperatives Deputy Minister Luck Wajananawat said during the opening ceremony of the rabies control caravan in Pathum Thani and Ayutthaya yesterday that the situation this year was not as serious as in the previous two years. He said the recent major concern about rabies among the public was a result of the awareness campaign launched by the Livestock Development Department.

“The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is firmly committed to eradicating rabies from Thailand within the next two years by following the strategies of Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn with the objective of making the country free from rabies infections in both humans and animals by 2020,” Luck said.


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